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Melissa Harris- Perry

News/Business. Melissa Harris-Perry. Analysis and discussion surrounding political, cultural and community issues. New.

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Chicago 25, Pennsylvania 14, Us 14, Egypt 13, U.s. 10, America 9, Rahm Emanuel 7, Obama 7, Libya 6, Romney 6, Alec 4, Ladonna 4, Florida 4, Advair 4, Ohio 4, Virginia 4, Shirley Sherrod 3, Usda 3, Garth 3, Fannie Lou Hamer 3,
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  MSNBC    Melissa Harris- Perry    News/Business. Melissa Harris-Perry. Analysis and  
   discussion surrounding political, cultural and community issues. New.  

    September 15, 2012
    10:00 - 12:00pm EDT  

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education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. this morning. my question, what is happening in the middle east? chicago is now ground zero. this strike is not just about the city but education nation. she survived pulley politics. shirl shirley sherard is here. it cob a landslide but only if voters can get to the polls. once again, it is this week in voters suppression. good morning. i'm melissa harris-perry.
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nerdland, some talk about the big pink elephant in the room or how the big red elephant is getting stomped by the big blue donkey. it is looking good for president obama, real good. it is almost got us wondering about the possibility of a landslide. yeah, i said it. put an asterisk next to that almost, because i'm going to be returning to it later. what has us feeling so confidence about the president's chances on november 6th. one word that sums up the theme of bill clinton's convention speech last week. arithmetic. i am not talking about the millions and billions in the candidate's plans to fix the economy. i am thinking of a much smaller number that plays a much bigger part in the outcome of the election. 270. now, i know you all know about how the electoral college works. let's do a quick refresher. your individual vote collectively known as the popular vote is just a director instructing your state's
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electors how you want them to vote. each state gets between 3 and 55 electors, depending on its population. it is those electors who ultimately choose the press. there are a total of 538 electors, divide that in half, add one and that number, 270, is how many electoral votes to win the president. according to the nbc electoral map, 2:30 electoral votes are leaning democratic, 191 are leading republican, which leaves 110 up for grabs. since we are chewing over all the facts and figures, i thought i would bring out the gumballs. here we have the blue gumballs. they are president barack obama's 237 electoral votes. here are red gumballs, are mitt romney's 191 electoral votes. these gumballs are the key.
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the yellow ones, they are the 110 electoral votes belonging to the toss-up states. to reach 270, president obama only needs 33 of these yellow gumballs. mitt romney needs 79. let's take a look at presidential polls. this is the latest nbc news wall street marist poll of three of the states holding the yellow gumballs, ohio, virginia and florida. in both florida and virginia, president obama leads romney by five points among voters. 49% to 44%. in ohio, the president leads by seven points, 52-43. if the election were held today and they voted the way the polls predicted, the total electoral votes president obama would win from those three states, florida, ohio, and virginia,
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that would equal 60 more electoral votes. that is almost double the 33 votes he needs to win. a win in any of the other would just be icing on the president's victory cake. of course, the election is not being held today. there are more than seven weeks to go and three debates before the elections. the polls also reveal that most people have already made up their minds about how they are going to vote. numbers are not looking good for mitt romney. neither is the news. governor romney has spent the election trying to convince us that his background as a businessman uniquely qualifies him for the job of executive and chief in charge of our nation and its aisliling economy. executive and chief is only part of the position he is applying for. he is also commander in chief in charge of the u.s. military and chief of state. in his audition for those two
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roles, mitt romney has performed horribly. first, there was his cold war throwback in march when he called russia our number one geopolitical faux. his gaffes about london's political head and no good commander in chief would forget to mention our ongoing war in afghanistan and the sacrifices of our troops but mitt romney left both of his speech at the republican national convention. this week, i pol lit sized the death of j. christopher stevens with an inaccurate and ill-timed attack against the president. it is enough to make you wonder whether or not all the rest of the gumballs are gonna be going to president obama. landslide. except for that almost. you see, voters may not get a
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chance to cast their balance lot. we have been bringing you information about voter suppression efforts underway in various states around the country, largely in the form of voter i.d. laws or in changes to early voting access. a new report by the nonpartisan public policy and advocacy organization sheds light on a well-coordinated plan to engage in old-fashioned voter intimidation on site at polling places. the report called bullies at the ballot box. now, called true the vote. their stated intention, to make voting like driving and seeing the police following you. the voters in these yellow gumball states may prefer president obama but if they are intimidated or blocked or discouraged from voting, then the landslide may end up buried in a suppression after va launch. with me today at the table one
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of the report's authors, steven spaulding, staff council for common cause, cornell belcher and democratic strategist, eleanor cliff, contributor for news week and "the daily beast" and mark steiner, radio host at morgan state university's mpr station and a founder for the center of emerging media. >> thank you all for putting up with my gumball narrative. i want to start with you, steven. i am appalled by this. who is true the vote? >> true the vote is an organization that started in texas. it grew out of the king street patriots, a tea party group that is organizing what it claims to be up to 1 million volunteers across the country to go to polling places and confront voters at their polling places on the basis of what they look like, because they don't think they are registered properly that they are not eligible to do what you said, to make voters feel like they are being followed by the police and driving a car. >> that is the image that i
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think -- i have seen a lot of appalling things on these voter suppression efforts. we have heard state-level officials saying this is about getting a win for governor romney in pennsylvania. that image, this idea of voting should feel like the police following you, that made me sick to my stomach. >> and someone who has routinely followed the police as i drive around. it is appalling. two quick things. >> a lot of these battleground state polls are still quite frankly just outside the margin of error. it is not a sort of landslide scenario as of yet. another part is that in almost every battleground state, democrats are being outspent 4 or 5 to 1. that's going to be a key. you are going to see an onslaught of negative advertising. i want to pull back our enthusiasm from the landslide. >> if, on the one hand, if we
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believe polls and we believe they are accurate representations of preferences, we have what looks like u.s. preferences for president obama and then we have suppression efforts and the big money, is that enough to take those preferences and turn them into a different outcome? >> democrats are so excited about this idea that barack obama could win but he could lose this election for all the reason we are talking about. voter suppression is very serious. the voting right act does not cover pennsylvania, wisconsin, where there is a huge vote to accept press the black vote and votes of colors and cutting back on the number of days they can vote before the day. barack obama could lose this election. people should not get all excited about these polls. i love polls but there is a lot they don't say. >> there has been so much good news on the polling front that democrats have to guard against
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overconfidence. it is not in the bag certainly. >> or in the jar. >> the voter suppression effort, the phrase driving while back, people are familiar with. we could have voting while black. it is not what this country should be about. if the president is going to win by any significant margin, these suppression efforts will only be on the sidelines and they won't change the outcome. if this is a close election, these kinds of things could matter. i think you are going to see lawyers stationed at the voting booths and both sides are going to have their team out to make sure there is not any funny business. in ohio, they actually did expand the early voting to include everybody. remember, there was that flap earlier that it could only -- only the military could vote early through that final weekend. so there are some good guys still in some of these states trying to resist the efforts.
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>> thank goodness there are a few good judges left. >> what we found in this report, let's be clear, this kind of effort to stop people from voting, this kind of intimidation, it is illegal under the voting rights act. we looked at ten states here. there are broad voter intimidation laws. voting should be free, fair, accessible for all eligible americans. there are laws on the books that need to be enforced. >> i appreciate this point. you are right. they are not covered under section 5, preclearance of the voting act but there are responsibilities for the kinds of things that can happen. i want to look from your report, from the bullies at the ballot. in it, you all write, as we approach the 2012 elections, every indication is that we will see an unprecedented use of voter challenges. organizers of true the vote claim their vote is to train 1 million poll watchers to challenge and confront other americans as they go to the polls in november. they say they want you to make
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the experience of voting like driving and seeing the police follow you. in a country where we already have a dampened turnout, this could be the dramatic difference. >> voters need to know their rights. that's the tools in here. voters should know their rights when they go to the polls. the department of justice needs to enforce the law. we need to think about the overheated rhetoric that is firing up a base where people are taking the law into their own hands. if you look at some of the other language, concerns about the food stamp army out to take the election, that kind of the illegal alien vote. obama is trying to register these voters and steal the election. that is dangerous rhetoric that is not in keeping with american values. >> i want to be fair to true the vote to show up and have a representative. they declined and did send a statement. let me just read their statement for you. the vast majority of americans, over 74%, demand better election
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integrity measures ranking from accurate voter rolls to election observation and voter identification. true the vote stands ready to work with anyone of any party to empower any citizen willing to make a difference. i'm sorry. i can't read it without absolute -- >> i'm going to make a prediction right now. of november 6th, we are never going to hear from true the vote again. i think they are going to be bit players. i think the obama campaign has approached this wisely. they are not spending their time whining about what's happening. they are getting their volunteers out there and educating people about what kind of documents they need and getting people those documents. there is an aggressive affirmative action committee. >> no one wants voter fraud. we just don't want eligible americans not voting. babies are born with social security numbers. why aren't they born with voter
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registration numbers. there are so many things to make voting free and fair and accessible that we can do if we put our heads together. >> we have more, more, more on this voters suppression. we are going to go to pennsylvania. why? because pennsylvania was back in court. voters required to show photo i.d. nms six judges decide to make it fairer to vote in pennsylvania. we are going to explain when we come back. in america today we're running out of a vital resource we need to compete on the global stage. what we need are people prepared for the careers of our new economy. by 2025 we could have 20 million jobs without enough college graduates to fill them. that's why at devry university, we're teaming up with companies like cisco to help make sure everyone's ready with the know how we need for a new tomorrow. [ male announcer ] make sure america's ready. make sure you're ready. at devry.edu/knowhow. ♪
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>> your honors, pack 18 impermissibly violates the right to vote by burdening severely the rights of others. on election day, if act 18 is
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not injoined then voters will be faced with the serious threat of losing their right to vote. >> that was david gersch, the lead attorney for the plaintiff in the pennsylvania voter i.d. law presenting oral arguments before the pennsylvania supreme court this week. the plaintiffs, including the advancement project and the american civil liberties union are seeking to overturn a lower court's judges to deny their injunction and stop the law from taking effect. the final decision over whether or not pennsylvania's voters will be required to show voter i.d. on election day now rests in the hands of the six judges. they are evenly divided, 3-3 between democrats and republicans. a split decision would mean the law stays in effect, which some estimates say could leave 1 million registered pennsylvania voters completely shut out of the election. joining me now from washington, d.c. representing one of the
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organizations that brought the suit, judith ann brown. >> hi, melissa. i feel like i will see you a lot. >> they just won't stop, will they? >> bring us up-to-date on what's going on in pennsylvania. >> we have one of the most restrictive voter i.d. laws that requires you have a current photo i.d. issued by the department of motor vehicle. it has to have an expiration date and it has to have your current address. we went into court and unfortunately lost in the lower court challenging that, because we know voting is a fundamental right. it is the blood line of our democracy. we knew that over 1 million people did not have the required i.d. in pennsylvania. so we lost unfortunately in the lower court. here we are before the supreme court. pennsylvania is a place where democracy is on trial and we
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will have to see and get a decision in the next week or so about this law. >> let me ask you something about how this law ends up showing up in pennsylvania. i want to bring in alec. we talked a little about about this previously. alec is the organization that does all kind of model legislation. they currently have said, their statement is that alec has no policy relating to voter i.d. and it would probably be best to find someone else to talk on your show. that was their statement to us when we asked someone from alec to come on and have a conversation about this. they did write this legislation, this model legislation. it is accurate they are now out of it but they did write this legislation initially, right? >> that's right. they were the ones that put together the template. they took the law from indiana and made a template. that spread like wild fire in
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2011. in 2012, 23 states. while alec has shut down that committee that pushed this law, you may remember that at the rnc convention, voter i.d. was part of their platform. we can't divorce this from at the end of the day, this is about politicians who have manipulated the rules in order for them to win. on the other end, the losers of this are democracy. the losers of this are the people who were most impacted, elderly, veterans, african-americans and latinos and young people. this is a place where the colleges, over 80% of the colleges did not have expiration dates on their i.d.s. those students would not be able to vote unless they changed their i.d.s at those universities. >> all of those are groups, whether it is young folks or people of color who are most likely to have voted for the president's re-election. >> let me ask you one last
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question. does it make any difference that these judges are elected rather than appointed? or do you expect their ultimate judicial decision making will rest on the arguments made in the case? >> well, since i am a lawyer, i will say they are impartial. they will look at the evidence in front of them. they will look at the arguments. here we have arguments about the fundamental right to vote. the judges were concerned about the fact that this is too close to the election and that the state doesn't have the ability to get the i.d.s in the hands of people. also, we should also be concerned that what is happening in pennsylvania is that they are starting to use discretion. as you may have heard this week, jim kramer came out and said, his father who is a retired vet wouldn't be able to vote. the 760,000 people that they say don't have it won't get it. >> thank you, judith browne
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dianis in washington, d.c. up next, who is the money and the power behind these efforts? [ thunder crashes ] [ male announcer ] if you think all batteries are the same... consider this: when the unexpected happens, there's one brand of battery more emergency workers trust in their maglites: duracell. one reason: duralock power preserve. it locks in power for up to 10 years in storage. guaranteed. so, whether it's 10 years' of life's sunny days... or... the occasional stormy one... trust goes a long way. duracell with duralock. trusted everywhere.
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hey. hey eddie. i brought your stuff. you don't have to do this. yes i do. i want you to keep this. it'd be weird. take care. you too. [ sighs ]
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so how did it go? he's upset. [ male announcer ] spend less time at gas stations with best in class fuel economy. it's our most innovative altima ever. ♪ we are back with this week in voter suppression. steven spaulding, cornell belch cher, eleanor cliff and mark steiner at the table. one of the things that took me over the edge were these letters that were coming, some from true the vote and some from the secretary of state of the state of colorado. this is an august 15th letter. it says, we need you to help keep colorado voter's rolls accurate. our records show that you are currently registered to vote but you presented a noncitizen document when awe ply for your
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driver's license. >> we have seen this happen in colorado. 9,000 letters go back, we think you are dead. hundreds are coming back saying i'm alive and well. there are problems with our lists and smart ways to deal with our lists to make sure your mom and jim kramer's dad are challenged and able to vote. i was there where we fought for civil rights in the south making that battle happen. what you see now is a confluence of huge corporate money backing these organizations and these
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organizations being able to pull people out very emotional about whether to hold on to their country. they are going to do it by any means necessary. >> i am down with the tea party having a right to stand up and speak their minds and have their own policy initiatives. where is the money. >> i think the road leads to dick armey, former majority leader in the congress now involved with americans for prosperity. they see a viable grassroots movement on the right and they water it with lots of green money and they grow it. now, we have the tea party as a viable political movement and the occupy movement we don't hear from. so i think the big dollars play on the right, not the left. i don't think the occupy people wanted the money. they might have turned it back.
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we see this development on one side of the spectrum. >> one of the good things i think you are saying is we begin to see in the polls that a.p. just put out. 8 in 10 americans want to limit the big money now coming into the system. you do see americans see that their vote is being taken away with big money. when you get 8-10 americans saying this is a bad ideal. that is a bad ideal. i think you will see some movement on it. >> "the new york times" had about the oil and coal money and subtle ads why you should not vote for barack obama. we are talking about major corporations that are now behind these efforts. they are not completely behind the efforts but behind the effort to push things out so obama can't win. it is frightening the power they are amassing. >> what i love about the alec story is it does seem that clearly alec is behind, for example, the pencil vain ynsylv
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law and potentially some others. we have seen alec begin to back away from sort of this. >> the american legislative exchange counsel, 40 corporations have left. we at common cause have filed the whistle flower complaint. they claim they are a charity, 501-c 3, not the c-4s that don't have to disclose their donors. alec says we are an educational charity. we don't spend a dollar on lobbying. they have this bill that's being pushed out across the country stopping eligible people to voting. >> that's why it is important to report like yours which exposes this. these movements are very careful to put a populous face. these are your neighborhood volunteers working on behalf of truth when they are backed by corporate influences. follow the money is a very good
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idea. >> i don't have empirical evidence for it but when i smell it, is msmells like koch. >> the koch brothers are a big backer for americans for prosperity, a big true the vote. under an american for prosperity banner. the secrecy, it's money, we know it is well-funded, well coordinated. we know they are reaching out to secretaries of state. gue it is very well coordinated. >> i want to talk about kris kobach when we get back. the kansas state secretary is prepared to take the president's name off the ballot. that's voter suppression to the extreme. >> up next, i will talk about why republicans are seeming to melt into a steaming pile of bumbling goo when confronted with president obama.
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i usually say that. in an article published in week on the grio.com, they observed that barack obama's republican opponents have a ten dency to implode. in 2004, his first opponent was forced out by a sex scandal. his replacement, alan keys was, well, alan keys. i know you remember in 2008 when senator john mccain suspended his campaign as the economy collapsed leaving the distinct impression that he was incapable of the multi-tasking required to be president. not only is romney shoving both his foreign policy left feet as far down his throat as possible but governor john kasich of the swing state of ohio is helping out the gop warren women image with this little gem. >> it is not easy to be a spouse
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of an elected official. they are at home doing the laundry and doing so many things while we are up here on the stage getting a little bit of applause. they don't often share in it. it is hard for the spouse to hear the criticism and to put up with the travel schedule and have to be home taking care of the kids. >> i am back with my panel. it is hard to be the spouse of the elected official. the laundry and kids line, i have to say, look, cornell, generally, the democrats are not as good as the republicans of eating a tag line but the worn women has been an affect one. >> i think you are going to see this gap wide. they haven't noticed that the women are the majority in the electorate. >> we were looking at the
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preferences for president obama over governor romney in virginia, ohio, florida, in each of those states. >> the gender gap is driving it. we are either dead even with men or running behind. the gender gap is driving it. from a policy standpoint, leading members of the democratic party are women. nancy pelosi is around that table. these conversations is front and central. >> we like to call it ladies love cool "o." there is this way they keep playing into this. i feel like on the voter suppression effort, women are not sort of as a group, women as a group are less likely to be impacted specifically about these voter suppression efforts. will this all then ultimately rest on women voters. >> unless you are single women. married women, democrats are not having an advantage with married women. something happens to you women when you get married. you want to be republican. >> it is hard to explain.
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>> with democrats, they rely largely on single women. we run a huge gap among single women, single women and younger women. they are groups and tend to be for a number of different reasons they tend to be more down scale. >> if you close the polls early, working moms can't get out. and if it is students. it is the categories of women that would be most impacted. i don't want to miss what's happening in kansas. >> republicans do know they have a problem with women. their whole convention was pitched towards women. remember, ann romney, we love women. the democratic convention for the first time in my memory emphasized abortion rights, every speaker, to the point where some democratic leaning commentators, women were made uncomfortable. it was kokie roberts who said it was over the top. you have to repeat things so people get the point.
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they are really trying to relate to single women and the republicans have moved so far to the right on reproductive rights that there is lots of room for the democrats in the middle. so this was the democratic convention championing liberal values more openly after two decades of trying to mod due late the stance on abortion, the democrats took the word rare out of the platform. >> they had cecile richards from planned parenthood and sandra fluke, who has become a cultural icon of it. there was a kind of clear messaging that was substantive, not just i love women. >> michelle obama was a huge star. when you get inside the data, we always want to say it is economy, economy, economy. the truth of the matter is, the economy takes a back seat when women think their health care violations, the economy is trumped. >> reproductive rights are
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economic issues for women. you cannot manage your household if you cannot manage your body. we are out of time on this. as we go, i do just want to remind our viewers that we do, in fact, have a secretary of state in this country, in kansas, who is working actively to take the name of the current president of the united states off of the ballot. in all the voter suppression efforts, this one is for me among the most appalling. i promise you, we will continue to ask, what's the matter with kansas as we move forward? thanks, steve spaulding and thank you for all the work that the organization is doing up next, tensions high in the middle east, north africa and the pacific after a violent week that saw protests of an anti-islam movie. we will go to egypt after the break. for your vacations, with chase sapphire preferred. for your vacations,
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high knowing that because of these patriots, because of you, this country that we love will always shine as a light unto the world. >> that was president obama at andrews air force base in maryland on friday as the remains of the four americans killed during the attack in libya earlier this week were returned home. this morning, u.s. embassies around the world remain on high alert four days after islamist gunmen staged a military style assault on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya. the u.s. ambassador, christopher stevens and three other americans died in the assault carried out with guns, mortars and grenades. protests erupted in other countries in the middle east, north africa and the pacific rim with the most violent in cairo, egypt.
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they are blaming america for a film they say insulted the prophet mohammed. joining me is mona. i want to ask you for viewers that have been watching at home seeing the images. is this a tinderbox that is about to get worse. is this a growing movement or is this sort of something that came up by now is largely over? >> first, i would like to start by sending out my condolences to the family and loved ones of the four americans killed in libya and of the other people of various nationalities killed yesterday. at least 14 people were killed. each and every one of those deaths was utterly senseless without any reason or purpose. i think what you are seeing is a kind of i hope a dying cry of a very desperate right wing.
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we have very sensitive timing in egypt. we have a president that is trying to establish his position in the middle and a group on the right wing. we have a similar situation in the u.s. we are coming up to elections in two months. there is a right wing fringe there. both minorities, both trying to provoke people and a whole lot of people with very, very, sometimes legitimate grievances and sometimes utterly senseless grievances being caught in the middle. as far as egypt and other countries of muslim majority are concerned, as a muslim & egyptian, i believe in not only the right to offend. peaceful protest of that offense. while there were many people i know here in egypt who were offended when anybody produces a film or cartoons as in denmark in 2005 that are deemed offensive to the prophet, they are truly hurt. i believe in the right to offend. if you want to protest, go ahead
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but do it peacefully. what we have seen in egypt over the past four days is a very violent reaction, especially yesterday and the day before. >> let me ask you about exactly that. part of what i hear you articulating is about that transition to what democracy and freedom feels like. i hear you that the offense is real but the nature of how one would then respond to offense is part of the maturation of what a democratic society that allows freedom of expression is. are these the growing pains of democracy that we are seeing? >> these are tremendously painful growing stages that we are going through because we are still writing our constitution in egypt. we are still trying to figure out the civil liberties that we have fought so hard for. the first amendment. i am an egyptian-american. the first amendment i am happy to use in the united states to defend my rights as a muslim. we want something that defends our rights here in egypt, the rights of everybody. when i try to explain to people
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this very strong anti-u.s. sentiment, i tell them, remember, i have said this on your show before, five u.s. administrations supported a dictator here in egypt who was very happy to deny us that rights of the first amendment, the right to freedom of worship and the right to freedom of express. we have a sizeable christian population in egypt. they deserve the same rights to worship and freedom that i have as a muslim in the united states. these are the things we are struggling over in the egypt. these are the things that so many people pay a high price for, not just here but in libya,libya libya,libya, yemin and syria. that continues to be derailed in the united states and egypt. we do not want a state of emergency. there is serious talk of an emergency law being returned. we fought so long to get rid of that. this is a very sensitive time. as an american citizen, i don't want president obama to be stuck between two right wings or for
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us to be hijacked by a right wing jockeying for power. president mohammed mosni belongs to the brotherhood. you have a sensitive political situation where people are muscle flexing and you get anti-religious sentiment and religious offense being used as cards to move people. no one knows who these people are and everyone wants to know when is this going to end. this is what our revolution fought for, social justice. >> i appreciate, mona, pretty extraordinary how you can do such a lengthy history and complex political/economic discussion in so few minutes. stay safe there in cairo, egypt. we will hear from you again. >> thanks, melissa. up next, back here at home, the teacher's strike in chicago is getting national attention.
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for the past week in chicago, students have been listening to their teachers' voices in the streets, not in the classrooms. approximately 29,000 chicago teachers protested this week after contract negotiations broke down. that meant that 350,000 public school students had an unexpected and unplanned for vacation for the past five days. that added a significant extra burden to families across the city to keep their children from falling behind in school and to find appropriate child care. with me now is one of those affected by the strike from chicago is misty drake, mother of two students attending public magnet schools in the city.
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how have you been coping with the strike? what have you been doing with your little ones? >> we are really grateful to have my mother-in-law, who has been taking care of our kids for at least three of the five days that the kids have been out. the last two days, i think, we decided to give her a little break and we actually tried one of the options that the city was making available to parents. so we actually sent them to the park district. >> i am wondering what you have heard from other parents. my big sister is a parent of two school age kids there in chicago. she got the other kids in the neighborhood and has been home schooling them. she sent me a text and said, i'm running out to the store to get a supply for the kids to make plasma, trying to make sure the kids aren't falling behind. what are you hearing from other parents? >> similarly, other parents are doing the same thing. i was sending worksheets with my kids to my mother-in-law's house and sending worksheets with them when they went to the park
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district. a lot of parents have been sharing resources, various websites that their kids can go to. unfortunately, during this time, we have to make up for the gaps and we are being teachers at the same time where some of us are working and really trying to figure out what their curriculum is going to look like for this time period in which they are not in school. >> as you are coping with those kind of challenges, where are parents for the most part placing the blame? the public opinion poll tells us that parents are on the side of unions. does that reflect your personal experience? >> this is a very difficult topic for a lot of parents. a lot of parents see the inequities that exist within the chicago school system. so on the one hand, they recognize that there are a lot of things that are not right with the school system. so they can sympathize with some of the teachers and what they are fighting for. then, on the other hand, you have parents that are saying i
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don't know if this is the right venue to do this. should we penalize kids with having them out of class to fight for some of these things that perhaps shouldn't be on the negotiating table. is there another venue in which we can address these issues. for me, a lot of my friends, a lot of my family, they are kind of like on fence. they recognize there are some issues within cps, a lot of issues within cps, for me, as an example, i don't have a decent school in my neighborhood. i have to send my kids outside of my neighborhood past ten different schools to get my kid to a halfway decent school. a lot of parents recognize some of the issues the teachers are fighting for, they are very valid but they don't want this to impact their kid on a negative side. >> misty, i feel like you just said that thing. you don't have a decent neighborhood school. you can't make the xhois to send your kids down the block. we don't have much time. i want to ask you one last quick
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question. i know you are committed to public school education. does this change that commitment? >> no, i will not. i grew up not going to public school. my parents felt like i wasn't going to get a great education. i had to go outside of my neighborhood. my kids within the second generation of kids that are going outside of their neighborhood for a decent school. we are still committed to a good public education, me, as well as my other friends. we are going to fight to make sure that our kids are receiving what's due to them. education is a right. it shouldn't be by hope, chance, and prayer they are going to get a good education. >> thank you for joining us from chicago. >> thank you so much. coming up, we are going to talk more about chicago and what this week taught us about the state of school reform. come back and stay with us. [ male announcer ] this is the land of giants.
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>> welcome back. i'm melissa harris-perry. chicago was the center of national attention after negotiations between the city's school officials and chicago's teacher's union broke down. resulting in a strike lasting five days and counting. while a tentative agreement has been reached between negotiate tors, union delegates will vote on the compromise which both sides hope will bring teachers back to the classrooms on monday. the showdown in the nation's third largest school system has been a demonstration of the school reform fight playing out all over the country. chicago has long been a national laboratory for school reform including the movement built on standardized tests and this myrrh roa mirrors the obama agenda crafted by arne duncan. local union president, karen lewis, brought it all back home
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telling a crowd of picketing teachers, quote, the assault on public education started here. it needs to end here. chicago has become ground zero of the fight for our nation's schools. what is the conflict teaching us about the state of school reform nationally? with me is meg gaan barant, corl belcher, mark steiner. mark, i know you have been following this. >> closely. >> very closely. what's the story in case people haven't been following it? >> one little inkling of this is really important to me. we talk about how these teachers don't want to have a full day, the shortest school day in all of the nation.
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we are saying give our kids something of substance and not just teach the test. nobody is covering this strike. this is one of the most important for unions and the beginning of the battle for the future of education, putting it on the table for all of america to begin to talk about. this is a very critical moment. >> i might be long but here is what i see in this longer school day plan. i see a mayor, mayor rahm emanuel, who has a violence problem that is out of control in his city. you had hundreds of murders and dozens of them were kids from the chicago public schools. i see him saying the best way to cope is to keep kids in school longer. there is a part of me that says, great, keep kids in school longer. then what i hear is, all right, mr. mayor, that's fine but you are not going to solve this problem without providing the enrichment activities,
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intellectual and social opportunities. i am seeing him trying to deal with this criminal justice problem by lengthening school days. >> you have hit on something that most commentators have not talked about. he has no answer of this. chicago is also the home of operation cease-fire where ex cons out of prison stop violence in the streets. put some more money into that. that will help stop violence in the streets. this is warehousing kids. i have fallen in love with karen lewis. i think she is amazing. >> she is a fire brand. >> she is a 20-year veteran chemistry teacher, a really bright woman. i am glad to see her out there. >> megan, how did we get to a point where we believe that student and teacher's interest are counter to each other? you are a class room teacher. >> i think there has been a kind of a long decade of attacks, more on teachers and teacher unions. there has been teacher bashing
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has become national pastime. i think part of what's important is this is the first time we have seen a teacher's union to take a stand against that. i think you also see that when they do, you have parents and students supporting those teachers, which runs counter to everything i think we have been told and everything in this kind of strike that you have seen in the media. so i think it shows that this is the first in the step of fighting back against what has been these kind of scorched earth policies and teacher bashing for people like rahm emanuel. it is a chance to stand up for quality public education. >> i mentioned i have a sister who is a parent in the school. she went out to get this stuff to make plasma with the kids. she was handed this flier that says mitt romney and paul ryan stand with rahm emanuel. basically, rahm emanuel is mitt romney. that is unfair in a lot of ways.
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i thought it was interesting that they were making it into a national issue. >> they waded in in the hope of enticing president obama into the fight. if obama sided with his former chief of staff, he would alien nate the unions. if he came down squarely on the side of the unions, the president has been reluctant to do that in other fights. the white house rather deftly stayed out of this. it is a lot about charter schools and who controls charter schools. they aren't obligated to hire union teachers. you look in all the big cities. i live in washington wag. i think a majority of kids are in charter schools. it is an effort by parents to get more control and means a loss of control for teachers. i think rahm emanuel has some good ideas. it is his attitude, kind of a bullying attitude. it is as though he disrespected the teachers. i think if he would have handled
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this better, he could have avoided this confrontation. >> it feels like the politics, he is sort of a tough guy and tough to deal with. it is part of why he was the chief of staff. it also feels like there is somehow a bipartisan agreement at this point that unions are bad for schools, that you have got to break the unions in order to get school reform and that somehow teachers are uninterested in and, by the way, that the best way to assess whether a teacher is good or bad, is standardized testing. >> which is crazy. i've been following this very closely all over the country and in my hometown of baltimore, which has charter schools but in baltimore's charter schools, the teachers are unioned and the parents have a lot of stay. they are not owned by private companies. nonprofit groups are helping to manage the schools. it is a very different situation. i think what's happening on this teach the test, rahm emanuel puts his kids in the lab school. a great school. the head of the lab school said
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at the beginning of the strike, not connected but said, i don't believe in testing. i don't believe in these kind of tests for our children. his own kids don't have to work for that. >> this is the point. i've been at elite, you taught at elite universities, princeton and others, that have gone away from using s.a.t.s for their entrance requirements. this he recognize that the main thing that standardized tests tell us is about the educational and economic situation of the family. if your family has some wealth, if your family has college educated people, you do well on standardized tests and they have very little to do with what's going on in the classroom. >> what a political football that would be if rahm emanuel the mayor said you we are not going to have any more standardized tests. i don't think that is realistic. the emphasis on tests needs to be relaxed and grows out of the
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no child behind legislation which the obama legislation has been trying to fix. >> what would be the terms of accountability? i am not against teacher accountability but against poor measures for teacher accountability. >> what should be good enough for rahm emanuel's children should be good enough for the rest of the students in this country and i think fighting for that kind of reform would be important. they don't rely on standardized testing. all research shows that it increases surface level thinking among students and is wildly inaccurate as a means of evaluating anybody. in new york, it had a 35% margin of error rate or up to 53% depending on which exam you were talking about. if i had that margin of error evaluation, i would lose my job immediately. the idea this is in any way about improving education is a lie. we have to reframe the whole debate and talk about what is it that quality schools could look like. if people haven't read what the chicago teacher's union has ut p out, their document on the
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schools that chicago deserves, it is a blueprint. >> we will ask that question, what does a good education look like? if teachers win in chicago, is it the return of the union. capella university understands businesses are trying to come back from rough economic times. employees are being forced to do more with less. and the need for capable leaders is greater than ever. when you see these problems do you take a step back, or do you want to dive right in? with a degree in business from capella university, you'll have the knowledge to go further in your career than you ever thought possible. let's get started at capella.edu in absolute perfect physical condition and i had a heart attack right out of the clear blue... i'm on an aspirin regimen... and i take bayer chewables.
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the united states has 3.2 public school teachers according to the latest data in 2009. they are working day in and day out to educate the next generation, the national teachers association and the national federation of teachers
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form one of the country's biggest labor forces. despite all-time lows, the thousands of union protesters flexing their muscles in the streets of chicago make me ask, has labor really died? will the unions be able to count this one as a late season win or will it further embolden anti-union sentiment. back with me is my panel. i want to ask you a question, cornell. we heard eleanor talk about the room that was made to talk about reproductive rights because the right went too far. will we now start to see more open embrace of the labor movement by this administration? >> well, i can't speak for the administration. i will say this. i certainly hope we see a broader embrace. the problem is the right has done a very good job of demonizing the union for the last couple of decades, especially when you talk to
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younger voters. they don't understand what the purpose of unions are. it is like they gave an eight-hour work day. >> or a week end. >> it is completely lost on them. the unions are in a position where they have to better position their brand. there is no grassroots sort of boiling up for the unionization, particularly among younger people. they don't understand what the benefits of a union are and they are disconnected from a history. >> since 2010, states have eliminated collective bargaining rights for teachers. the states include idaho, indiana, tennessee, wisconsin, all of those states that said, no more collective bargaining rights for teachers. >> it is no the by accident that we see a shrinking of the middle class at the same time as the shrinking of the unions and collective bargaining. one interesting thing is this broader political story. we have republicans coming in 2010. guess what they went to cutting, first responders, teachers and all these other sort of things that help broaden and strengthen
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the middle class. one reason why the unemployment rate continues to be so poor is, quite frankly, we have laid off all these teachers. >> i feel like we need a little amen corner on this. when you see it over and over again, on the one hand, there was this conversation about the economy and the need to have more jobs and at the same time this cut government, cut government. government are the people who work putting out your fires and educating your kids. >> and keeping you safe. >> that's what so-called government workers. government workers are not some -- the vast majority of government workers we encounter are teachers. >> good middle class americans. >> if you take those away, the private sector is growing while the republicans are cutting. >> that's shrinking and that's having a real impact on our unemployment numbers. under reagan, we didn't see these sort of cutbacks in government workers like we see under obama right now. >> let me ask you this. it feels to me like part of the
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branding cornell is talking about in terms of how well republicans have done in shaming unions is because we don't really know what a teacher does during the day, what a workday looks like. what is a teacher's day really like? >> i have 170 students a day who i see and five classes i calculate the aonct once. what happens is increasing, there is more and more work placed on people, more emphasis on testing and data which adds to the workload and makes it harder to have control over what the classroom looks like. the amount and effect of the economy and unemployment on our students have to mean these are the people that are being impacted. one of the important things that karen lewis did was talk about poverty and what impact that has on education. if you have increases in homelessness, we have seen a lot among students at my school yet where you don't have social workers or enough guidance counselors in addition to teachers. also, i think who our students
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are. i work at a school that has a lot of bilingual students. the idea is we hold everybody to the same expectations. it takes much longer to develop academic proficiency. we are working under circumstances where we don't have enough teachers or social workers. we start the 7:40 a.m. because that's what we need to do to provide space for students. i think there are a whole bunch of other things we would like t see in terms of reform. we need experienced teachers in the classroom and more resources like guidance counselors and arts programs and something like that as well. >> it is good in terms of deacon strucking the ideas of the student in a perfectly stable household with their little backpack. if you can't, you are a failure. it is very different if you are
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talking about a housing crisis that has kids in situations of sleeping on couches. we know how hard it is to get homework done under the best of circumstances. put all of those circumstances, kids who are hungry because there is insufficient food. there is a disconnect between what students' lives are like versus this imaginary world where we have where teachers should be responsible for all of those pieces. how do we get to integrated conversation about labor rights, poverty, children's circumstances and the rights of teachers in all of that. >> part of it, you are doing it here. these conversations that take place across america between people of all kinds of different situations. when it comes to education, we are still playing like it is the 1950s. this is the 21st century. this is post segregation where you have generations of kids whose parents never went to school a quick little story. there is a school in baltimore called douglas high school which was the only high school black
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folks could go to until the '50s. i asked some friends that their fathers and mothers had gone to that school. how many kids were in your school when you went there, 400, 500? there were thousands of other black children in the '30s and '40s. there were jobs to go to. we are not dealing with schools the way we need to. we are still playing a game like some time ago. unions play a huge role in this. watching what has happened in chicago could stimulate a teacher's union or other teachers. what happened was a robust group of teachers that were fed up took over the union from the union bosses. that's what made the difference. >> that's important, right? all union activity is not equal and this is truly a teacher-led initiative. i have been talking about my sister a bunch here. even your point about education. my sister has a college education. she can set up a kind of very
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quick home school circumstance. there are my nieces and nephews making plasma at my sister's kitchen table. if you don't have those personal resources, how do you manage to make that? >> the thing is, public schools in many places, if not most places in this country work very well. they need to be modernized. i agree with that. where they don't work is in big cities and certain areas. what's going on is an effort to find out who is to blame. teachers are the most convenient target. parents need to mobilize and say, if you are going to cut back, we are not going to stand for class sizes that are going over 30-35 for little kids in many cities. they have to rebel. i think that's where you see teachers rebelling in chicago. i think this is all a good thing to point to what's wrong with public education in certain areas but we shouldn't demonize public education in general. it is a wonderful melting pot.
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i'm a product of public schools, my children are. >> it has been the most important vehicle of social mobility in our country. that has been the thing that has given us that. >> our country shall because if we don't win this, we lose to china and india. this is the competition for the future of america. if we lose here, we lose the ability to compete for the future. if we lose that, we are no longer number one anymore. one last quick point if i could. part of what i think the issue is. i did some work for united way around education about a year or so ago. part of it, one of the sticking point is, we have teacher's unions an i love them and they are great. when you look into some of these poor performing school districts and look the atheat these paren. unless they come organized. why is it in certain things, in black neighborhoods, go to schools that you know would not happen across town? across town, they are mobilized and organized. some of the communities have to
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get better mobilized and organized. >> thank you, megan, i appreciate you being here always. i appreciate your voice as a teacher. everybody else is back later. before we go, i do want to tell you something exciting. next sunday, i will be hosting a special education of the show. it will be a student town hall as part of nbc's education nation summit from the new york public library building in mid-town manhattan. we will have a unique conversation with our nation's young people, hearing about their experiences, their concerns and their solutions for the challenges facing our nation's school. we need your help. to inform and guide this discussion, we will be collecting ideas from students. send them to educationnation. students can upload youtube videos for a series we are calling "my solution" by going to education nation.com. go ahead, invite the students in your home to do that today. be sure to tune in next sunday
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at 10:00 a.m. eastern. first, when we come back, she took the right wing blogosphere smear machine on and she won. shirley sharard is in nerdland next.
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july 2010 is probably the first time you heard the name shirley sherrod. at that time, she was the usdas georgia state director for world development and the latest target of andrew breitbart's attacks. he pushed out a decent tiff portion of her speech at the naacp story. including this part. >> so many black people have not seen farmland and here i was
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faced with having to help a white person save their land. so i didn't give him the full force of what i could do. >> if you didn't know any better or bother to listen to the entire address, she appears to be promoting a discriminatory agenda. it was taken out of con text and edited in a way to misrepresent the message. far too many people who should have known better and should have taken the time to listen to her entire speech turned on her. the administration hastily re p repudiated her and the naacp issued a statement that it was a shame. july 2010 should not have been the first time that you or the administration or the naacp have heard her name. she and her husband are stalwart civil rights activists that worked tirelessly to integrate
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rural georgia. they continue to be advocates of economic justice for people of all races. her life-long commitment to activism is told in her new book. i am pleased to welcome her to my table. is shirley sherrod, thain you for being here. >> thank you. >> i have been convinced from the moment that this happened that your vilification has to do with our lack of historical memory. my best girlfriend is a historian of the civil rights movement and she called immediately and was like, i wonder if she is any relation to charles sherrod. if you have done eyes on the prize 101, should have created an immediate suspicion of that tape. why have we lost so much of the civil rights history? >> i think part of the problem is that we fail to teach that history to our young people. we failed to teach our history. it was hurtful to us. the things we experienced during segregation and jim crow. so we tried to shield our
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children. in shielding them, we didn't teach them. >> i wonder if part of it is when we think of the civil rights movement, we think of the urban parts and not the rural story. >> people didn't pay much attention to rural. that's where there were battles in the cities. some of the real battles took place in the rural area. we didn't have the protection many of the people in the city had. >> talk to me about what the albany movement was. >> well, you know, my movement -- i have worked in the albany movement in later years but mine was baker county. baker county was where we had a particularly hard time because of the person who was in charge there. that person was the sheriff. >> sheriff gator. >> so we had to maneuver to try to live and not run into the la you, which was the gator.
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he ruled everyone and everything. >> when you talk about the painful things that many in your generation did not pass on to many in my generation and, therefore, mine to the next, one of them that was very painful to read in your book was about your father's murder. it occurred in a dispute with a neighboring white farmer. you write that your father finally said, i don't want to keep arguing with you. we will go to court and they will settle it. he turned again to walk away and that mr. hall pulled up his rifle and shot him in the back. >> yes. i didn't see. we have heard that my father turned and the bullet went in the front but the fact was he was shooting him when he was walking away. to this day, other than the fact that my father stood up to him, we don't understand why.
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>> mr. hall was never brought to justice for this crime? >> never, never. the grand jury, which was all while, refused to indict him. >> so two pages later, you say, i tried not to feel hate but hate seemed the only emotion available toward the man that killed my daddy. but my mother cautioned against it reminding us of our faith. that night, i made a promise to stay in the south, escape was no longer an option. >> i understand the hate feeling like the only emotion available to the person that killed your father. it is harder to are me to get that next move where you say, i'm embracing faith and stay here to do the work. >> what did i have to fight with? i could fight with try tog do good and promote love instead of hate. my mother would say to us all
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the time, people, some whites that talked to her in later years, younger whites that were saying you seem to be so positive. how is it? >> i remember in particular one young white man talking to him and naming some of the whites who had burned the cross in front of our house and that had done other things. she said to him, all of those people you named, where are they? they are dead. she said, if i had tried to live a life of hate, i would probably be dead too. >> so you made a choice to live a life of courage and without fear. we will talk more about that and bring some more folks to the table. i am so excited to have you here. up next, you have probably never heard of pickford versus glickman but i'm telling you, you want to know all about it. [ male announcer ] when this hotel added aflac
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pickford versus glickman,
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far from being one of the best celebrated cases but for black farmers, it is a big deal that led to $1.15 billion being distributed to african-american farmers in 2010 as compensation for a long and cal lamb ma tus history of discrimination. for years, they claimed discrimination in the allocation of farm loans, debt restructuring and crop payments. in 1999, a judge agreed in a class action lawsuit known as pickford 1. it wasn't until president obama agreed for the funding which allo allowed for plaintiffs to file their claims. back at the table is one of the original plaintiffs in the class action suit, shirley shar rod and rejoining the conversation, evelyn and mark.
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>> once the movement -- let me go back. i have to go back. >> you are allowed. >> yes. coming out of the civil rights movement and realizing that as we were getting people to exercise their rights, they were being kicked off the land that others owned, so we came up with the idea of trying to build a community for these people. new communities was born. we had 6,000 acres of land due to discrimination at usda, we lost that land in 1985. >> 12 years. >> about 15 years we had it. then, i started working with the federation of southern cooperatives to help black farmers not only in southwest georgia but throughout the south. we were looking at the fact that black farmers were losing so much farmland and even the u.s. commission on civil rights kept sounding the alarm saying if you don't do something about discrimination at usda, by the
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year 2000, they will be virtually no black-owned farmland. we saw that happening and knew that a lawsuit had to happen. that was the only other way. wi we had tried everything else. the only other thing left was to file a lawsuit against usda. >> what i love is that this part of the story about black farmers and about the rural battles has been so lost. yet, there are these interesting moments of interracial interception that occur in them. my favorite moment as distressing and as disturbing as the entire case around your words in 2010 was that willie nelson became one of the most vocal public voices that showed up and was like, y'all are not going to say this about miss sherrod. he said, this is the work farmers have been doing. he said your real story deserved to be telling a long time ago, that you had an amazing impact on hundreds of communities
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throughout the south and that farmers throughout the races had struggled with income and races. that advocates like you were necessary to keep people in their homes. >> yes, and farm maid has played a major role in helping to get resources to farmers when no other resources were available. fa fa farm aid is taking place next saturday. i have networked with not just black farmers but hispanic and native-american farmers because of farm aid and a few other organizations we have been able to work together. >> mark, you were actually part as a team, part of a civil rights movement that led you into the presence of the sherrods. >> there was a group called civic interest group. when i was 13 years old, i joined my first picket line
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desegregate. from that day on, i was in the civil rights movement. i ended up being the youngest person arrested during the civil rights. i did see the sherrods. we went to atlanta. this little white boy was going down to atlanta with these people and snik was there and you were there, husband was there. it was obviously, this little white boy in the room. >> we are going to come back in a moment but i don't want to miss that today, the 15th of september is also the anniversary of a 1963, the bomb that killed four little girls in birmingham, alabama. a reminder that was so many young people on the front lines of this struggle and as we were just talking about with the education strike, there are still so many young people on the front lines. that's what i want to talk about coming back, the new data on poverty in america and how young people are impacted and the missing link and why farming is actually part of it. i will explain after the break.
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new data released this week shows poverty numbers for 2011 remaining stagnant, placing 15% of the u.s. population below the poverty line. a tiny decrease from the $15.1 for 2010. a new study at the university of chicago and the university of notre dame says those numbers only tell part of the story. what they do not tell us is that we are making progress among poverty. they do not take into account the government programs to aide the poor benefits like housing and snap that help lift people above impoverished counties. we are beginning to make some
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inroads. not many know that the much-derided school programs is part of the farm bill. >> right. it is. >> former senator george mcgovern and former majority leader, bob dole, really were instrumental in the two parties coming together decades ago in forging farm state interests because senator dole was from kansas with sort of liberty notions of helping people. i think they were the real pioneers in the kind of food supplement programs we now have as part of the federal government. the fact it is part of the agriculture bill i think saves it, because there are particular farm state interests and small farm states have a bigger voice in our government often and urban centers. it is worked out. because of the number of people on food stamps has gone up substantially. the republicans have seen that as a target labeling president
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obama the food stamp president. >> i have to have a real honest moment, because i sit here and i think of all the work and the food stamps and all the work that, you know, the past generations did. i think i'm almost shamed that sort of my generation and the younger generation, you know, we are not doing works and fights that honor their generation. i really am ashamed that the things about poverty and all those big issues that were tackled in the civil rights movement and i am really ashamed that we are not building a future. our generation. we are not doing the work that respects and is worthy of our ancestors. >> you know this as a pollster if you are looking just at elections, the democratic party at-large tends to see urban areas as its base, unions and black and brown folks. it feels to me when we start telling these stories that there are some key economic and political interests that tie people together across racial boundaries in rural areas,
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particularly the rural south. >> talk about the issue of poverty. it is still a number one issue. i did focus with the young people a couple of weeks back for this. talking to young people. i asked them, what's our cause? we think about generations, what's our cause? they struggle to understand what the cause is. it goes on this conversation about organization. the community organizing this or the people organizing this, the organizing that they did, somehow that knowledge has been lost on us. we just don't get it. >> there are certainly people doing work. i mean, i am always so excited to talk about our foot soldiers in part because there are people doing work. part of it is trying to bring it to the fore. as i was reading your text i keep thinking of this, the life of fanny lou framer written by one of my favorite historians. in so much, the work you were doing in georgia was also being
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done by miss fannie lou hamer in massachusetts. >> there are some real heroes from the rural area that we don't hear about. we hear about the urban heroes. >> which i great. >> they did good work. but a lot of what happened in the south depended on people like fannie lou hamer. they were the real heroes. it was more dangerous for them to do the work they did. >> they were women in the hierarchy of the civil rights movement. it was mostly men. >> it was women that did stand up all throughout. in alabama, or wfr thherever ths in the south, the struggle was so scary. >> i want to say fannie lou hamer said, yes, i represent the
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left, the left out. i have been left out for 400 years. more in just a moment. first, it is time for preview of the weekend with alex whit. we have new twists over that controversial over that anti-muslim film. one of the people apparently behind the video is talking to federal officials but why? in libya the role the u.s. is playing in trying to figure out who killed the american ambassador. the fbi is now there. new polls in the race for the presidency. what do they tell us that could be pivotal for november? and in office politics an expert talks about the value of debates. there may be more and even racier pictures of kate middleton out there. the publisher who decided to publish the topless photos is threatening to publish others. not a pretty picture, melissa. >> thank you, alex. up next we're going to talk about a back-yard garden that yielded 40,000 pounds of produce in a year. t of a vital resourced to compete on the global stage. what we need are people
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this week our foot soldier is ladonna redman. chicago mother turned produce maven. 13 years ago she discovered her infant son had severe food allergies. then she discovered how difficult it was to find food that was best for him. healthy food that was not genetically modified and was free from pesticides. grocery stores in her neighborhood didn't carry organic food. the stores further away that did had prices that were too high. so la spdonna and her husband converted their backyard into a small garden. she grew lettuce, tomatoes and succeeded in growing corn on the west side of chicago. she was now able to take care of her son's particular food need. but the reason that she is this week's foot soldier is because ladonna didn't stop there. in 2001 she started the
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institute for community resource development, which ran a farmer's market for her chicago neighborhood. by 2005, ladonna and her husband had expanded her backyard garden to six vacant lots, growing more than 40,000 pounds of produce per year to address one of our country's most expansive problems, the fact that more than 23 million people including children live in food des certificates th deserts. more than 50 million americans do not know where their next meal will come from. nearly 47 million americans now use food stamps. two-thirds of american adults are either overweight or obese, putting them at risk for diabetes and heart disease. and as a nation, we have issues with food. which brings me back to ladonna redman. 13 years ago she was a concerned mom trying to solve a problem for her son.
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but now she is seeking a solution for millions. ladonna works for the non-profit research institute for agriculture and trade policy, a national organization based in minnesota. she's a principal organizer of an upcoming conference called food plus justice equals democracy. and organizers describe it as a gathering of people of color and indigenous leaders to craft principles of food justice. here's how ladonna puts it. >> it's about what's wrong with our food system. and not so much just stopping there and saying what's wrong with our food system. but what kind of food system do we want to create. >> her hopes are to bring people together, a straight point, to come up with a cohesive, holistic food justice platform. for starting in a garden in her backyard that planted the seeds for a national movement, ladonna redman is our foot soldier of the week. and that is our show for today. thank you to shirley
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sherrod,cornell belcher, mark steiner. thanks for watching. on tomorrow's show i'm particularly excited to bring you my exclusive conversation with dr. mya angelo. please meet me back here tomorrow morning at 10:00 eastern. weekends with alex witt is next. e something very interesting in common. they have teachers... ...with a deeper knowledge of their subjects. as a result, their students achieve at a higher level. let's develop more stars in education. let's invest in our teachers... ...so they can inspire our students. let's solve this.
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